Already this year people who are carry much more weight than us have chimed in on the topic, and in our positions favour. As an example, Puck Daddy's Greg Wyshynski alluded to the fact that the Flames management had saddled Brent Sutter with a bad team, and then added a guarantee of a playoff birth just to see the look on his face. He then went on to say:
"The blame will be placed on the construction of this team if it goes off the rails, as Dome Beers notes in a post on Jay Feaster and Ken King: If Ken King and Jay Feaster sold ownership on this team being a good one, then that is on King and Feaster, not on the players. The players are who we think they are. They have been for at least two seasons. If management still has unrealistic expectations for them, or if they kept their jobs in the offseason by selling those expectations, that speaks to the talent and ability of the management, if you ask us."
We bring this up for a reason. Often, it takes an outsiders perspective to give one a true vision. People who are too close to something are too close, and they miss seeing things. While the local media in Calgary is content to blame the coach or more often the players, it seems that those outside the bubble and those removed from threats to access see something else entirely: They see bad management.
Ritch Winters, founder of hockey agency 'The Sports Corporation', took to twitter recently to lambaste what he perceives to be problems in the culture of hockey management. Mr. Winters is trying to establish an MBA program for sports management, so it is in his interest to present the current crop of managers as nincompoops. He wants people to enroll in his program. We understand that.
With that caveat aside, we thought we would take a look into what he had to say about the Flames, and specifically, to us.
Besides the current management of the Flames tendency to not know how to value their assets, or other organizations assets for that matter, one of the reasons we think they need to be fired is that under their watch, a culture of complacency has been allowed to develop. This is best embodied in the charge of 'Country Club' being leveled at the organization, a charge that has been around for many years. Put simply, we think it is much too comfortable to play in Calgary. Ritch Winters would seem to agree.
Some foreplay: Mr. Winters sent the these tweets:
"Bad ownership and management really is the problem with underperforming teams. No champs in management. Not likely to get one on the ice."
"Hockey reporters seldom give us much of what is wrong with hockey. Their buddies in management will cut them off. Its too bad for fans."
"Why is it teams under .500 think they still have a chance at this point? Smart owners refuse to recognize bad management is their problem."
"Jay Feaster did not select a single core player with 56 draft picks as GM in Tampa. How does he qualify 2 restock a team with no prospects?"
"Flames projected to miss playoffs for 5 more years based on best analytics available. Unless Leland can be Dominik Hasek. He just might be."
(Talking about the Flames vaunted 'new' scouting system) "They are old school. The changes they have made are 5 years behind the times - at least. They just don't know that."
You get the drift. And actually, he is saying things that we say here on DB, which is just the crazy, isn't it?
Anyways, getting to the point. We liked what Mr. Winters was saying, even granting him his salt, so we looked at his website. It has a page that shows you some of the clients the agency has. Some of the clients the agency has are Flames. Gio and Tangs.
Which we thought was a little odd. Here we have an agent who talked a lot of noise about when he was finding a team for Hossa, he used analytics to place him on a team with a great chance to win the Cup, allowing two of his players to sign in Calgary, who he very clearly does not think has a chance to win the Cup.
We then sent him a tweet: "I wonder if
We got a response: "I expressed that concern over and over. Other factors came into play. Family. Teammates. Money. Not as simple as u suggest."
Which to us is Black Rob. Because, with all do respect for Mr. Winters, it is as simple as we suggest: These players signed in Calgary because it is comfortable. Winning, as per the Sports Corporations founding member, was not as important as 1) Not having to move the family, 2) Playing with teammates they liked (we are assuming he is talking about Tanguay here but who knows), 3) The money they were offered (did the Flames bid against themselves?).
Seems simple to us: Winning isn't a priority with this club, with the management on it, or with the players on it. We have talked about it before, with regards to the Glencross contract. Again, reasons for signing were family, proximity to his land out in the country, and the ability to network with the local companies downtown. All reasons that have to do with comfort, and have very little to do with winning.
Fish rot from the head down. There is a culture problem in Calgary; it starts with Ken King and it permeates down through the organization. The term 'winning' has become a glibly used sales tool, as opposed to the organizations reason for existence. We are glad outsiders like Greg Wyshynski and Ritch Winters see it, and are pointing it out.
We are just wondering when the local season ticket holders, media, and fans will wake up, take a step back, and realize it, too.
Furthermore, I think